Master of Physician Assistant Studies, Accelerated

Location: Worcester, Manchester
Start Term: Fall

As a physician assistant, you provide care to patients as an extension of the physician relationship and a vital member of the healthcare team. This program builds on your bachelor’s degree in any field, and incorporates the study of medical and behavioral sciences with real-world clinical experiences throughout New England.

During this accelerated, year-round, 24-month program, you’ll experience a challenging series of supervised clinical rotations in a wide variety of settings to gain experience in surgery, women's health, psychiatry, pediatrics, emergency medicine, primary care and internal medicine. When you graduate, you’ll have knowledge and skills to provide quality and compassionate medical care, function as a highly valued member of a health care team and serve as a patient advocate.

For admission to the program, an applicant must have:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A science GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale (recommended)
  • 250-500 hours of patient care experience (recommended)
  • PA shadowing experience (recommended)

Additionally, the following prerequisite courses must be completed: 

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II with lab (8 credits)
  • Microbiology with lab (4 credits)
  • General Chemistry I with lab (4 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry I with lab (4 credits)
  • Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • Psychology (3 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits) (Acceptable substitutions include basic statistics, biostatistics, psychological statistics, economic statistics)

Prerequisite courses (as indicated above) must have been completed at a regionally accredited college or university with a grade of C or better. Math and science courses taken more than ten years prior to the anticipated date of matriculation to MCPHS will not be accepted.

Student Work Policy

In order to enhance student learning and assure student success in the Physician Assistant program, it is recommended that students minimize the hours worked outside of the program. When students work while in the program, work schedules must not interfere with class performance or clinical rotation schedules.

Clinical rotations are integral to the Physician Assistant Studies program at MCPHS University–Manchester and Worcester. It is during this phase of training that students apply and improve their clinical and patient management skills. There are 9 required clinical rotations. Each rotation is 5 weeks in duration. In addition to clinical rotations, students participate in on-campus professional seminars during the clinical phase of training. Students are also engaged in writing a Capstone Research paper during the clinical year.

The program has clinical affiliations with a variety of clinical sites in New England. Additional national and international clinical sites are also available. Learning experiences occur in ambulatory and hospital-based settings and include rural, suburban and urban clinical sites. Students are encouraged to choose rural health facilities for a portion of their clinical experience. The breadth of clinical settings offers the future Physician Assistant the ability to acquire skills and competencies practices in a variety of settings.

Rotations in the required curriculum may be scheduled at some distance from the campus. This is necessary to provide a range of diverse learning experiences and ensure availability and quality of clinical rotation sites. Students are responsible for providing their own housing and transportation to and from the clinical sites and campus. Housing and travel costs for the clinical year vary widely depending on the site and location. Physician Assistant students are not responsible for identifying or arranging their own clinical sites. However the possibility exists for students to coordinate, with the program, a maximum of two out-of-network clinical sites. To ensure quality educational training the sites must be approved by the Physician Assistant Studies Program and University and proper protocol must be followed to arrange for out- of-network clinical rotations.

The School of Physician Assistant Studies reserves the right to make changes to all policies and procedures at any time.

Clinical Rotations

Course

Title

Hours

MPAC 600 Medicine I 5
MPAC 601 Medicine II 5
MPAC 602 Primary Care 5
MPAC 603 Pediatrics 5
MPAC 604 Psychiatry 5
MPAC 605 Surgery 5
MPAC 606 Women's Health 5
MPAC 607 Emergency Medicine 5
MPAC 609 General Elective Rotation 5
Total
  45
Technical Standards for Admission, Promotion, and Graduation A candidate for the MCPHS University–Manchester/Worcester Physician Assistant Studies program must have, at a minimum, skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavior/social. Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a candidate must be able to perform in an independent manner. The following skills are required with or without accommodation:

Observation

Candidates must have sufficient capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and the patient's bedside. Sensory skills to perform a physical examination are required. Functional vision, hearing, and tactile sensation are required to properly observe a patient's condition and to perform procedures regularly required during a physical examination such as inspection, auscultation, and palpation.

Communication

Candidates must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and healthcare settings. Candidates must show evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills. Candidates must be able to communicate with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. Candidates must be capable of completing, in a thorough and timely manner, appropriate medical records and documents and plans according to protocol.

Motor

The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g., palpation, auscultation) is required. Candidates must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to properly care for all patients. Candidates must be able to move freely about patient care environments and must be able to move between settings such as clinics, classroom buildings, and hospitals. In addition, physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

Intellectual

Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the Physician Assistant Studies program, candidates must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem-solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Candidates must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the healthcare team is essential. The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and concern for others are all required. Candidates must be able to function effectively under stress and have the ability to accept constructive criticism and handle difficult interpersonal relationships during training.

Program Competencies

These are the expected outcomes as a physician assistant (PA) graduates from MCPHS–Manchester/Worcester. These outcomes or program graduation competencies were endorsed by the NCCPA, AAPA, and PAEA to guide PA programs to modify and improve PA curriculum. All didactic and clinical experiences cumulatively contribute to these outcomes.

Mastery of these areas will be gradual and will not occur with any single exam, course, or rotation. It is a process that takes time, study, and effort. There are several instruments used to measure acquisition and achievement of these competencies including preceptor evaluations, graduate exit surveys, employer surveys, and post-graduate surveys two years after completion of the program. MCPHS University–Manchester/Worcester uses these competencies as an important component of the summative evaluation process. These competencies were adopted by the faculty and staff members of the MCPHS University PA program to serve as a roadmap to enter practice as a competent physician assistant.

Medical Knowledge

Medical knowledge includes an understanding of pathophysiology, patient presentation, differential diagnosis, patient management, surgical principles, health promotion, and disease prevention. Physician assistants must demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care in their area of practice. In addition, physician assistants are expected to demonstrate an investigatory and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • Understand etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic process, and epidemiology for medical conditions
  • Identify signs and symptoms of medical conditions
  • Select and interpret appropriate diagnostic or lab studies
  • Manage general medical and surgical conditions to include understanding the indications, contraindications, side effects, interactions, and adverse reactions of pharmacologic agents and other relevant treatment modalities
  • Identify the appropriate site of care for presenting conditions, including identifying emergent cases and those requiring referral or admission
  • Identify appropriate interventions for prevention of conditions
  • Identify the appropriate methods to detect conditions in an asymptomatic individual
  • Differentiate between the normal and the abnormal in anatomic, physiological, laboratory findings, and other diagnostic data
  • Appropriately use history and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate a differential diagnosis
  • Provide appropriate care to patients with chronic conditions

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Interpersonal and communication skills encompass verbal, nonverbal, and written exchange of information. Physician assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, their patients' families, physicians, professional associates, and the healthcare system. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • Use effective listening, nonverbal, explanatory, questioning, and writing skills to elicit and provide information
  • Appropriately adapt communication style and messages to the context of the individual patient interaction
  • Work effectively with physicians and other healthcare professionals as a member or leader of a healthcare team or other professional group
  • Apply an understanding of human behavior, demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety
  • Accurately and adequately document and record information regarding the care process for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes

Patient Care

Patient care includes age-appropriate assessment, evaluation, and management. Physician assistants must demonstrate care that is effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • Work effectively with physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide patient-centered care
  • Demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families
  • Gather essential and accurate information about their patients
  • Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence and clinical judgment
  • Develop and carry out patient management plans
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families
  • Competently perform medical and surgical procedures considered essential in the area of practice
  • Provide healthcare services and education aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health

Professionalism

Professionalism is the expression of positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one's own. Physician assistants must know their professional and personal limitations. Professionalism also requires that PAs practice without impairment from substance abuse, cognitive deficiency, or mental illness. Physician assistants must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Physician assistants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Understanding of legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the appropriate role of the physician assistant
  • Professional relationships with physician supervisors and other healthcare providers
  • Respect, compassion, and integrity
  • Commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices
  • Sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender, and disabilities
  • Self-reflection, critical curiosity, and initiative

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Practice-based learning and improvement includes the processes through which clinicians engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, medical literature, and other information resources for the purpose of self-improvement. Physician assistants must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • Locate, appraise, and integrate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients' health problems
  • Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness
  • Apply information technology to manage information, access online medical information, and support their own education

Systems-Based Practice

Systems-based practice encompasses the societal, organizational, and economic environments in which healthcare is delivered. Physician assistants must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of healthcare to provide patient care that is of optimal value. PAs should work to improve the larger healthcare system of which their practices are a part. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • Use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education
  • Effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems
  • Understand the funding sources and payment systems that provide coverage for patient care
  • Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
  • Apply medical information and clinical data systems to provide more effective, efficient patient care

Year I - Spring 

COURSE
TITLE
SEMESTER HOURS

MPA 527

Healthcare Issues I

1

MPA 530

Clinical Medicine I

6

MPA 538

Patient Assessment I

4

MPA 541

Pharmacology I

2

MPA 544

Clinical Anatomy

3

MPA 546

Physiology/Pathophysiology I

2

TOTAL

18

Year I - Summer

COURSE
TITLE
SEMESTER HOURS

MPA 528

Healthcare Issues II

3

MPA 531

Clinical Medicine II

6

MPA 539

Patient Assessment II

3

MPA 542

Pharmacology II

3

MPA 547

Physiology/Pathophysiology II

3

TOTAL

18

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Year I - Fall

COURSE
TITLE
SEMESTER HOURS

MPA 532

Clinical Medicine III

4

MPA 543

Pharmacology III

2

MPA 550

Emergency Medicine

2

MPA 552

Medical Procedures & Surgery

2

MPA 554

Special Populations

4

MPA 540

Patient Assessment III

 3

MPA 555

Clinical Research Methods 

 1

TOTAL

18

Year II - Spring

COURSE
TITLE
SEMESTER HOURS

MPAC

Clinical Clerkships (3 rotations)

15

TOTAL

15

Year II - Summer

COURSE
TITLE
SEMESTER HOURS

MPAC

Clinical Clerkships (3 rotations)

15

MPA 620

Professional Development

1

TOTAL

16

Year II - Fall

COURSE
TITLE
SEMESTER HOURS

MPAC

Clinical Clerkships (3 rotations)

15

MPA 622

Capstone for Physician Assistants

1

TOTAL

16

Total credits to complete degree requirements: 101 s.h.

The program prepares highly qualified physician assistants who regardless of practice settings, are sensitive to both individual and cultural differences in the communities they serve. Through an integrated curriculum in the medical sciences and the healing arts, the program provides a comprehensive educational program that meets the demands of a dynamic healthcare system. As a community of learners, the program fosters professional growth through scholarly pursuit and practical experiences while promoting the integration of the whole person in the development of clinical, interpersonal, and professional skills required in the collaborative practice of medicine as physician assistants.

Our Vision

To serve the healthcare needs of local, national, and international communities through the integration of learner-centered education, scholarly inquiry, clinical experience, and professional development.

Program Goals

  • Be competent primary care providers in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • Incorporate the role of ethnic and cultural diversity in the practice of medicine.
  • Be empathetic to patients, families and the community.
  • Demonstrate professionalism in their interactions with patients and the medical community.

Program Success at Achieving its Goals

The success of the MCPHS Manchester/Worcester program in achieving its goals is demonstrated by consistent positive employer/preceptor reports of former graduates and current students in areas of history taking, physical examination skills, technical skills, fund of knowledge, critical thinking, creating diagnostic and therapeutic plans, communication, self-learning behavior and professionalism. An objective measure at achieving program goals has been the first time PANCE pass rate scores for its graduates.

The program also measures success at achieving its goals through formative evaluations throughout the didactic and clinical phases of the program to help ensure success in achieving a high level student learning and core clinical competencies. Reports the program receives from students and clinical preceptors provides assurance that this is the case and that the program and its students are performing in an outstanding manner. Summative evaluations such as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and other summative evaluations that assess core medical knowledge are also used to ensure that students leave the program with the necessary skills and medical knowledge to provide high quality medical care. The program has a continuous self-assessment process in place to ensure it is providing the necessary tools to promote achievement at each and every level of the PA program.

The annual tuition for the Accelerated Master of  Physician Assistant Studies program is $45,250 (per combined fall, spring and summer semesters).

For more detailed information, visit:

Tuition and Fees

Payments, Withdrawals and Refunds

Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) Performance

Download the first time PANCE pass rates for the five most recent graduating classes here.

The Accelerated Master of Physician Assistant Studies program has institutional articulation agreements (entry from other institutions) with the following institutions:

  • Assumption College
  • Clark University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • New England College
  • Saint Anselm College
  • Salem State University
  • University of Maine
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Worcester State University 

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the MCPHS University – Manchester/Worcester Physician Assistant Program sponsored by MCPHS University – Manchester/Worcester. AccreditationContinued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2017. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. 

 

Collaborating to improve patient care

A group is participating in an Interprofessional Education (IPE) program, designed to bring students and faculty from across disciplines, schools, and campuses together in collaboration - See more at: https://www.mcphs.edu/academics/ipe#sthash.nCJzPCAL.dpuf

Discover how Interprofessional Education empowers PA students to share their knowledge with Optometry students.

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